Mindset - The New Psychology of Success
Health and Humanity are at the heart of everything we do at Relyf. Health is a broad term that we break down into 3 sections, the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. Part of having a healthy mind is by expanding it with the knowledge that challenges us and helps us grow as individuals. In our on-going series on books that have helped us grow, Relyf Reads, the Head of Medical Advisory Board, Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, shares his overview of The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck. Check it out!
Dr. Yashar - Not too long ago, a group of us were having a conversation on the topic of mindset.
Within seconds into the conversation someone interjected.
“Why do we need a mindset?”
It's a great question, and a common one, but it needs to be tweaked slightly to capture the essence of what mindset is really about.
You see, mindset is like blood pressure. We all have it, it’s just a matter of how healthy or unhealthy it is, and carefully examining what are we doing about it.
So the question isn’t if you need it.
Rather, what we should be asking is: "What is my mindset, and how is it helping or hindering my development?”
Stanford Psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck’s transformational book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is a powerful reference for understanding the impact of this topic.
Dweck’s research teaches us how to recognize our own thinking. She suggests that we fall into two broad mindset categories, which she describes as a “fixed mindset” or a “growth mindset.” The book goes on to describe the tremendous emotional, cognitive, and social progress that comes with developing and sustaining a “growth mindset."
Here are three of the big takeaways from the book that can help you, do better by thinking better.
Growth vs. Fixed Mindset
Here are the definitions of growth vs. fixed mindset.
Definition of Growth Mindset: The belief that you have the capacity to improve your personal and/or professional traits and qualities (e.g. intelligence, athletic ability, musical talent, etc.), and the interest to do so.
Definition of Fixed Mindset: The belief that you have a certain unchangeable capacity to improve your personal/ professional traits and qualities (e.g. intelligence, athletic ability, musical talent. etc.), and therefore a lack of interest to do so.
You may find yourself identifying with a fixed mindset in certain areas of your life and growth mindset in others. This is fairly common and somewhat expected.
Dweck's writing does a great job helping you identify your own mental processes, and guides you on how to change your mindset to be more growth-oriented.
Here are a few questions to help you gain a better understanding of how your thinking, i.e. your mindset, is impacting your choices and (in)actions.
Think of a challenge or conflict you are facing and ask yourself the following questions.
- How does this way of thinking add value to this area of my life?
- Do I believe that I can reach the goals that I have set out for myself with this mindset?
- How do I feel emotionally when I embrace this mindset?
What to Praise?
Dweck argues that we are creating a society of fixed mindset individuals by bestowing praise that focuses primarily on talent and intelligence. Instead, Dweck believes we need to focus praise on the effort applied, strategy incorporated, and then acknowledgment of the progress made. This will help ourselves handle adversity, push past our comfort zones, and empower our thinking to overcome it.
We have plenty of examples in history, from Thomas Edison to Henry Ford, and even Michael Jordan, which embody the ability to do great things, even when they faced failure. It would be impossible for these individuals to overcome their challenges if they maintained a focus on talent and intellect alone. The fact that they were able to apply their understanding of effort, strategy, and acknowledgment of progress is what largely contributed to the development of their insights, talents, and creations.
Apply the Secret Sauce
Here is a simple way to start developing a growth mindset: Add “yet." This word is the quickest and easiest technique to start shifting your thinking towards any challenge you face. By adding the word “yet” to the end of a sentence you take what was impossible and make it possible. For example:
- “I am not a strong business leader, yet.”
- “I do not understand how to solve that problem, yet.”
- “You and I do not get along, yet.”
- “I don’t like to exercise, yet.”
Take advantage of these tools for yourself! The human mind is always learning, therefore your abilities can be developed.
Here's to your growth mindset as you do better by thinking better.
Find more beautiful prose by Dr. K on Relyf's Education + Wellness blog.
Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, ND, ACC is the Chair of the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) for Relyf and co-founder of MINDSHIFT NINJA, a Leadership Development company.